A cookbook can double as a travel guide, helping the reader experience a city or region through its cuisine. Here, we round up forthcoming restaurant-focused books that give readers a taste of their terroir—the earth, the landscape, and the local ingredients that inform each menu.
Ana Roš: Sun and Rain
At Hiša Franko, a tasting menu restaurant in Slovenia’s Soca Valley, near the Italian border, Roš serves her take on traditional Slovenian dishes, distinguished by idiosyncratic combinations of meat and seafood sourced in close proximity. Recipes include her unfussy directions for garnishing and plating, and each is prefaced by a memory about the landscape that helped shape it. Moody, dramatically lit photos of Roš at work and the dishes she crafts complete the meal.
Cooking in Marfa
The West Texas town of Marfa (pop. 2,000) has become a destination for art lovers, collectors, and designers. In 2016, Barnette, a veteran of the Inn at Little Washington in Virginia, and his wife, Lebermann, an arts philanthropist and Texas native, teamed up with a set designer friend to create Capri, a restaurant-cum-art experience located in a renovated 1950s motel. In this collection of 80 recipes, including some that feature their beloved chapulines (grasshoppers), the authors impart their enthusiasm for local flavors, as in their Texas caviar (it has Fritos) and “good for you” margaritas complete with vitamin-packed hibiscus flowers.
Hungry for Harbor Country
When California native Navama relocated to the “third coast” of southwest Michigan with her husband, she was surprised to discover an ardent food community serving locally sourced meals, wine, desserts, and coffee. Her homey cookbook contains recipes, many of them gluten- and dairy-free, from the area’s renowned restaurants and shops, such as Whistle Stop Grocery’s Asian noodle salad, and blueberry mascarpone crepes from Luisa’s Café.
The Ladies’ Village Improvement Society Cookbook
New York Times doyenne Fabricant teamed up with East Hampton’s 125-year-old historical society to capture the social spirit of the famous spit of land, through stories of parties and other events, reproductions of archival newspaper clippings and vintage photographs, and 100 recipes from local chefs and purveyors, including Ina Garten, Martha Stewart, and Eli Zabar. Recipes are organized into themed menus—lunch by the pool features, among other dishes, Lobster Cakes from Stuart’s Seafood and Doughnut Pudding from Dreesen’s Market.
Lost Restaurants of Santa Cruz County
This installment in the publisher’s American Palate series traces five decades of the area’s cuisine, from the wartime belt tightening of the 1940s to a new focus on local, seasonal foods in the ’90s. Pollock, who owns the Cook’s Bookcase, a Santa Cruz bookshop, interviewed restaurateurs, purveyors, servers, and bartenders to get the histories of stalwarts like the Miramar Fish Grotto and the Saˉba Club, to name two. She includes cocktail recipes as well as images of her collection of restaurant ephemera—menus, matchbooks, and more.
Two-time James Beard Award–winner Wetzel honed his affinity for seasonal, local ingredients at René Redzepi’s Noma, and in 2010 brought that passion to the Willows Inn, situated on a tiny island off the coast of Washington State. His second cookbook (after 2015’s Sea and Smoke), is named for the island, a fitting choice for a collection of recipes he described to PW as “a tour of the island in the form of a tasting menu, and of the natural flavors that are in season”—wild plum, young rhubarb, blue clams, and sockeye salmon, to name a few.
In the first two cookbooks by Ottolenghi alum Hercules, 2015’s Mamushka and 2017’s Kaukasis, she roved across Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Here, she centers her Ukrainian upbringing in an homage to the “summer kitchen,” a small separate building in the garden where produce is preserved for the coming winter. Recipes like fermented watermelon, spiced pork belly, and apple and quince babka pair with on-location photos to bring the dishes of her childhood to life.
Sweet, Savory, Spicy
Tiong, a MasterChef Australia finalist, takes readers on a tour of the hawker stalls and food markets of Southeast Asia. The 60 recipes map out the flavors she sampled while living and traveling in the region, such as Laotian meatballs, Malaysian sweet potato doughnuts, and Singaporean chili mud crab.
Taste of Tucson
The tastes of the U.S. Southwest inspired this collection of recipes from the Sonora region. Food columnist and photographer Alpers helps those new to the area’s cuisines stock their pantries—staples include beef tripe, chia seeds, and chipotle chiles in adobo—and provides cheerful, encouraging direction for cooks of all levels. Recipes are identified by their provenance, such as Charro Steak Restaurant’s Oven-Roasted Salsa, where “the Flores family has been serving salsa,” she writes, “for almost 100 years.”
The borough of Queens is said to be the most ethnically varied urban area on Earth, and on Saturday nights from April through October, some 12,000 attendees at the Queens Night Market sample foods from more than 80 countries, at no more than $6 a pop. In what PW’s review called a “wildly diverse collection,” readers meet Wanda Chiu of Hong Kong Street Food and learn to cook her pan-fried noodles, which they can chase with Laura Joseph’s Antiguan ginger beer and Joey Batista’s Portuguese custard tarts. In addition to the recipes, family photos and cartoon renderings of the chefs bring the market experience to people who lack easy access to the 7 train.